Home >Education >News >Coming soon: College degree courses with embedded apprenticeships

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked universities to offer undergraduate degree programmes that will include apprenticeships and industrial training, in an effort to promote outcome-based learning and to improve employability.

The higher education regulator has already developed guidelines for such apprenticeship-embedded degrees. Institutions are free to design these programmes in consultation with Sector Skill Councils, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and industry bodies such as Ficci and CII.

“Considering the interests of the students and society at large, you are requested to kindly promote apprenticeship/internship embedded degree programmes in your university as well as the college/institutions affiliated to your university," UGC said in a letter to universities dated 20 September. Mint has seen a copy of the letter.

These degree programmes will allow students to spend a considerable amount of time, may be more than a year, on shop floors.The move is expected to help students get jobs faster and industry get trained manpower, against the backdrop of high unemployment.

A government official, who declined to be named, said it has three key objectives: “to improve the employability of students pursuing undergraduate programmes, to focus on outcome-based learning programmes and third, enhance active linkage between the higher education system and industries".

Unemployment in India, already high for several years, rose further with the outbreak of covid-19, crossing 20% during last year’s national lockdown. It has come down since then, and according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), as of 31 August, India’s national joblessness was 8.32% and urban unemployment rate 9.78%. It is still considered quite high in the labour market. Over 1.5 million people from both the formal and informal sectors had lost their jobs in August 2021 alone, Mint reported on 1 September.

The regulator also asked universities to furnish details about the kind of courses they wish to pursue in this model and industries they are partnering with or wish to partner by early next month.

The official cited above said institutions are free to tie up with non-commercial and commercial organizations, establishments and enterprises.

“Embedding apprenticeship…will offer a kind of training that shall be undertaken not on the campus but on the premises of commercial or non-commercial organizations or enterprises. Students graduating from such degree programmes shall be eligible to take admission in the master’s programme in the specific subject in which they have earned their undergraduate degree as well as in subjects for which they have taken 24 credits in the core subjects as a part of their undergraduate programme," according to official documents.

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